Friday, 31 January 2014

gung hay fat choy (red river valley)

"Chinese dulcimer" = "Yangqin"

happy new year!

vid 1
Uploaded on Oct 5, 2011

Performed by Wenmei Li at Saint John Arts Centre, Oct 1st 2011 Cultural Day


Lunch Poems @ SFU Vancouver, Teck Gallery

Lunch Poems with Ray Hsu and Joanne Arnott, Feb 19

February 19, 2014
  Pinterest  Print
Lunch Poems at SFU is a unique vibrant exchange of poetic ideas and cadence held the third Wednesday of every month, 12-1pm in the Teck Gallery at Simon Fraser University Vancouver.

Date: Wednesday, February 19
Time: 12-1pm
Location: SFU Vancouver, Teck Gallery (515 W Hastings Street, Vancouver)
Details: Free admission, no registration required

For more information on Lunch Poems at SFU and these poets, please visit

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Manitoba visiting + Pete Seeger passing

Home from many days of performing and visiting in Manitoba, still sorting my impressions and saddened to hear of ongoing neglect.

What was most beautiful was the opportunity to watch the swirling snow, obscuring the light of the sun, and the many moods of cold.

Equally nourishing, seeing and embracing so many, old friends and new, email buddies and family too. (see pals pics @ bottom of this post)

Connecting with young writers is another form of mutual replenishment, here are a few of the writers met (and more here)

Big thanks to Katherena Vermette, Renate Eigenbrod, and all of the writers performing and attending the Neechi Commons & Millenium Library events. Thanks to Richard Van Camp for sharing the film, as well as for the above photos.

Brandon gatherings were also well-attended and heart-stirring: Sweet Medicine Singers, Darryl Racine, Di Brandt some of the great talents and world-menders with whom I had the pleasure of cross-infusions.

When i heard that Pete Seeger died, a certain melody came to mind. One thing that Pete Seeger was well-aware of, and never tired of, was the singer's role in the cascade of culture, across communities and through the generations.

The sample below, of his teaching role and memory-bearing, is not one of the many songs that i learned to play and sing, but it is the melody that returned to me, and a fine example of his generosity of spirit.

A self-aware teacher and healer, he taught all who would listen to hold on to our stories by singing our songs.


Fran, Linda & I, reunited 
about 40 years after we first met!
decked out in Rose' handmade scarves
'a little bit of Manitoba'


MIWF 2014 - Duncan Mercredi - "This City is Red"

Cree storyteller and poet Duncan Mercredi reads his piece "This City is Red" at the opening night of the Manitoba Indigenous Writers' Festival 2014. Held at Neechi Commons, Winnipeg - 16 January, 2014.

Find the MIWF on Facebook:


PETE SEEGER ~ Guantanamera ~

Pete Seeger ~ GUANTANAMERA ~ words written by Jose Marti, tune by Pete Seeger. "Guantanamera is Jose Marti`s most famous song world wide.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The ICC Witnesses Project : "Kenya is Moving On"

The ICC Witnesses Project

ICC Witnesses    Published on Nov 29, 2013

The ICC Witness Project is a collaboration between Kenyan poets, in Kenya itself and in the diaspora. The project aims to give voice to some of the missing witnesses for the ICC trial.

These are not the actual witnesses at the trial.

"The work is inspired by, and is a response to, the below article:   "What is clear is that alleged tampering with witnesses or those who may offer important leads about Kenya's violent past, is worrying the chief prosecutor at International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague." - Claims of witnesses in Kenya ICC trial 'disappearing' ("

I came across this powerful work whilst reading this blogger's commentary:

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Elen Ghulam: Graffiti Hack

In celebration of the launch of her first novel, Graffiti Hack, Elen Ghulam has released three book trailers, each one a small jewel in itself, altogether an excellent introduction to the world and mind of an artist unique, at the height of whimsy.

Graffiti Hack Book Trailer # 1

Graffiti Hack Book Trailer # 2

Graffiti Hack Book Trailer #3

for more about this book & this author, 

visit the multidisciplinary website   ihath 

Graffiti Hack 

Book Launch Party 

Feb 8th 2014
7pm -11pm
The Landing
375 Water Street
full details here

Sunday, 5 January 2014




Brandon University * January 10 & January 24





Everyone Welcome, Free Admission, Books for Sale


*Red Carpet* Literary Celebration
(revised program)

BLUE SWING   Friday, January 10  

11:00 – 12:00   Literary Readings     BU Library Gathering Area
           Kim McCullough, Laurelyn Whitt & Katherena Vermette
1:30 – 4:00 Creative Writing Master Class    BU Library Archives
            Kim McCullough & Katherena Vermette

7:00 – 10:00   Literary Readings and Panel    BU Louis Riel Room
            Jazz by Slow Spirit
            Readings     Kim McCullough & Katherena Vermette
            Literary Panel   “Literature as Love Song”

                                  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

CROW NEST   Friday, January 24

10:30 – 12:00    Literary Readings     BU Library Gathering Area                 
              Joanne Arnott & Staged Reading from Crow Nest,
                        with Darrell Racine & others

1:30 – 3:00    Creative Writing Master Class   BU Library Archives
              Joanne Arnott

***Creative Writing Master Classes:  Open to anyone interested in honing  creative writing skills.  Please come to the BU Archives (2nd floor of the BU Library) with paper & pen, an active imagination & an open mind!      Limited to the first 20 people.   Please tell your colleagues, students & friends.



Joanne Arnott is a Canadian Métis/mixed-blood writer & arts activist, originally from Manitoba, now nestled on the west coast. Her first book Wiles of Girlhood won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award for “best first book of poetry in Canada” (1992). She has published essays and poetry in anthologies, and seven further books, including My Grass Cradle (Press Gang 1992), Mother Time: Poems New & Selected (Ronsdale 2007), and A Night for the Lady (Ronsdale 2013). Active with the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, she volunteers with The Writers’ Union of Canada and The Writers’ Trust, and is an active blogger. Watch for Halfling Spring: An Internet Romance (poetry, Kegedonce, Spring 2014).

Kim McCullough has published reviews and commentary on a number of literary websites. Clearwater is her first published book of fiction, just out with Coteau Press. She is currently working towards her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. Originally from Regina, Kim now teaches junior high language arts and drama in Calgary. She also leads various writing workshops for students of all ages, including a writing class for women in recovery from trauma.

Darrell Racine is Métis from the Turtle Mountains in Southwestern Manitoba. He learned to tell stories from his father who was a trapper and hunter. He holds a Ph.d from Oxford University and teaches in the Department of Native Studies at Brandon University. He has published two plays with Dale Lakevold, Stretching Hide and Misty Lake, which have received several awards; Stretching Hide won the Theatre BC Canadian National Playwriting Competition, and was produced by Theatre Projects Manitoba in Winnipeg, to a full house and critical acclaim.  His screenplay Crow Nest recently won the prestigious Praxis National Screenwriting Award at SFU, which includes an opportunity to develop the screenplay with directors and producers of international repute.  He was featured as the keynote speaker at the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters in the School for Contemporary Arts at SFU; his talk was titled “Oral Culture and Narrative Style: A Dialogue with Darrell Racine.”
Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer of poetry, fiction and children's literature. Her first book of poetry North End Love Songs (J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing 2012) won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, and some of the poems landed on the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press, surely a first in the history of newspaper publishing in Canada!!   She also received the Lena Chartrand Poetry Award from Contemporary Verse 2.  Her upcoming project The Seven Teachings Stories is a children’s picture book series (forthcoming 2014 with Portage and Main Press). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in several literary anthologies and literary magazines, including Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water, edited by Warren Cariou and Niigonwedom Sinclair, and the Exile Book of Native Fiction and Drama, edited by Daniel David Moses. Katherena Vermette lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where she is the mother of two teenage daughters, where she is also completing a graduate degree in Creative Writing at UBC (long distance program) – the most illustrious student in the history of the program ever!!  

Laurelyn Whitt is an award-winning poet, whose poetry has appeared in numerous journals in Canada and the US, including Nimrod International, The Tampa Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Malahat Review, PRISM International, Rattle, Descant and The Fiddlehead Review. Her poetry collection Interstices (Logan House Press, 2006) received the Holland Prize for Poetry in the US.  Words for Relocation (Will Hall Books 2001) received the Norma O. Harrison Chapbook Award. a long dream of difference (Frith Press 2001) received 2nd prize in the Frith Open Chapbook Competition.   Her new collection is Tether, just out from Seraphim Editions.  Dr. Whitt is a professor of Native Studies at Brandon University.  She completed her doctorate at the University of Western Ontario. Her academic monograph Science, Colonialism, and Indigenous Peoples:  The Cultural Politics of Law and Knowledge was published by Cambridge University Press in New York in 2009. 

she wants to
open her arms
wide enough
stretch them out
like an elm’s long branches
to catch
a thousand birds
and hold them close

Katherena Vermette, “treegrr”
              North End Love Songs (2012)

Thank you most of all to our illustrious guest writers for coming to Brandon & sharing your new writing & creative insights with us.   Thank you to the Manitoba Writers Guild, the Brandon University Dean of Arts, the BU Library, the Department of Native Studies, the Department of English & Creative Writing, the Indigenous Peoples Centre, the BU Bookstore, the BU Students’ Union, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing Co., Ronsdale Press, Seraphim Editions, Coteau Books, Root Sky Productions, & our gracious community donors for generous financial & in kind support.  Thank you for to the Manitoba Métis Federation (SW region), the Brandon Friendship Centre & the Brandon Folk Music & Arts Society for promoting the event.  Thank you to the following people for contributions & assistance of various kinds:  Alex Beshara, Betty Braaksma, Amber Clark, Glen Kirby, Trish Kotz, Dr. Della Lee, Roberta McKinnon, Lisa Murray, Darrell Racine, Katie Solbeck, Bruce Strang, Audrey & Darrell Tiessen, Laurelyn Whitt & Erlin Zurawski.

We hope you enjoy our Celebration – & don’t forget to buy the books!!

                Di Brandt and Dale Lakevold, BU HAWKWEED Literary Forum

                                                      *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

The newly established Brandon Works In Progress Cabaret is hosting its first biweekly cabaret evening at the Park Community Centre on Friday, January 24, from 7:00 to 10:00.  Both Joanne Arnott & Darrell Racine & his actors will be featured at this event, along with musicians & other performers, TBA.  Please come to the Brandon Works In Progress Cabaret for more adventurous literary & creative arts fun!!  Admission $8.  Food & drinks available. 

Manidoo-Giizis / Kinepism: Manitoba Indigenous Writers Festival 2014

Correction: SAT JAN 18 2014
 More about events & presenters

Thursday, 2 January 2014

John Barlow: view from Toronto

view from toronto


We have about 36 time consuming fussy things to remember to get done by team's departure dates, most of them so mind numbing you have to go under regular conscious thought to focus on them, into a realm of rumbling rambling monoconscious doing each uninteresting part of it precisely naturally the mind flies like a bat out of hell every which way in its unused portions. I get it from the coalminers side of my dad's family, though the orphans on the patrilineal were child labourers in the mills and lucky to survive to adulthood: they were more stoic; the little coalminers of gramma scholes world were the passionate ones, like songbirds when seeing sunlight
...thats where i get my love of fleet women, gramma and her sisters
you'd truly think you were among birds.


What a year, 2013. friccin H. They make unemployment insurance unattainable, raise the beginning age for old age income support, we have the biggest idiot mayor of all time in our face all year, half the army's committed suicide, blow up the town of Lac Megantic, a bunch of haphazard fucks just making life worse and worse.
You should hear the ranting in the warehouse. The most basic kinds of near apolitical people are just disgusted and it seems a miracle if anything works at all.

senate oratory

Monday night way past my sleep time I was intently listening to the last hours of senate floor hearings
of that day. Immensely impressed and daunted. the conservative house leader was perfectly 15th century witch hunt seeking to terrorize opponents with their being next with what amounts to the new undefined rules of senate you can claim expenses, vet them, inquire, have them cleared, and maybe anyway months later have them retroactively declared invalid and be publically smeared and humiliated and punished
with a vaguely whipped vote in a vindictive scapegoating spirit. The second last opposing speaker was a woman with incredibly powerful resolve clearly putting self interest aside to come back with truths against the conservative's twisting knife, the last opposing speaker and closer of the day lengthily went on with horribly accurate quite accusative analysis and objection that had me gasping
unable to turn it off til complete, amazed
such stark words were being put to the government.

I'll be trying to look for it myself (googling hansard comes to mind)*
but do you or others here know a tidy means of accessing transcipts? I could go over the texts in question at quite some length of value. Just amazed by some of it.
One thing the recent motion to suspend Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin has done is made Canadians pay attention to that little regarded institution and I have suddenly seen oratory that I did not know was within those walls.

January 2013

 A lot of First Nations' Chiefs have sounded the serious note as this week's unfolded, while conservative  spøkespeop¬e and mavericks have been, not so much serious, as spoiling for a fight, and in most cases one based on ignorance and hostility, rather than anything relevant, useful or intelligent.

In the midst of my own tumultuously tiring workweek and such historic factors as the given day's weather, it's intriguing to foresee how all this could have real meaning, profound effect, is filtered through the economically structural lessenning of the value of life.

…The agreement is often 60-40 one of knowing the vote splitting on the part of those I agree with is explicitly what gets the Conservatives elected. And to a considerable extent the Conservatives, and right wing Liberals, are and have been the problem throughout "Canadian" history. Along with the corporations they serve.
This conservative government that our bullshit causes to be elected can't even begin to imagine relating as equals to the First Nations. They wouldn't have the slimmest idea what that would involve.


Had half hour conversation with a spirited campaigner for a world poverty organization, along a wall on spadina, very charmed, but I don't bank on the street. She had a device to phone my bank, set it up, and I'd be sponsoring a village for $9 a month direct deposit. Wildly charming though, she was doing a high stepping slow motion ridiculous dance as I was heading down that way - both bikes with flat tires and wheels and gears- one near unrepairable, the other maybe)

and then as I tilted my head curiously, focussing my eyes as it was quite dark, she lit up with smile and quick affirmational nod and asked to borrow my time. Activist people so often have this high level of theatricality.

She truly would not take no for an answer, and it was really fun having her tell all about all the world places, and try to make it so sound so easy to call the bank and become a monthly partner in the organization. I told her I don't have credit cards, don't trust my bank with anything complicated, don't really bank on the street,
and have at least 3 friends verging on homelessness and probably do as much to help them as I want to.
She poured it on and poured it on, until it was pretty much just a fun conversation. I bet what charm I may have is likely brought out by a circumstance where at every moment I'm trying to tug onward, do my errand, resume the longish feeling walk home, with no bicycle, after a daylong of such trudging.

Her determination to eliminate every element of my reasons for reluctance wasn't far from complete, except I hadn't necessarily said that I'd never bank with a newly met stranger on a dark street, in so many words.
Politeness had become quite high level friendly parryings on topics all of which were mutually agreed. A fun conversation. I gave her my recent photocopy books and she was amazed and overjoyed, best response in years to such a gift, "you made this!" and when quickly noted the key texts in it her delight further ran up. She seemed really delighted and finally with a wonderful smile said alright I could go now and seemed enthusiastic to start reading the books already specially the blue one, and that she could write to the email address
and continue trying to convince me to sign up for the program.
Really funny conversation sometimes and friendly.
I can't imagine her generation will grow up to tolerate the conservative's agenda, good only for skyscrapers,
with the populace paying for them, like the pharoahs. 

That agenda carrying on really will be a huge disaster for a lot of people. People always think the sufferings in Canada are less but there is the maximum of it in people out there. Being economically pushed off the cliff in cold rich canada can be as headlong as any other thing.

It's incredible people bank on little hand held devices.

Which brings us to the present.

~John Barlow

John's blogs 


Barlowhockey's Blog

John's poetry 

barn reading 2013

Ugly House Poets Reunion, Windsor Book Fest, 2008

Buffalo Wings 2006 - John Barlow 

(1 of 2) above

Buffalo Wings 2006 - John Barlow

 (2 of 2) follow link to view

readrobread Published on Jan 8, 2013  

 From a poetry reading in Buffalo, NY

 in Feb 2006 with Kemeny Babineau and Rob Read.

 Reading recorded by Nick Schwartzmyer. 

Sound editing and soundscape by Rob Read.

John's books

Three books from Exile Editions

Top image by John Barlow, ice storm 2013

"View from Toronto" comprises jb posts selected from various e-groups over the year, used with permiss

My thanks to jb for ensconcing me in his world of e-poetry, +
for friendship